Thank you Utah!!!

I found myself saying thank you (to myself? to god? to buddha? whomever...) quite a bit as I drove tonight. This trip has been at the back of my mind for a long time. It's pretty fantastic to be out here in the middle of it with everything working out pretty well.

We left Salt Lake City yesterday with the intention of stopping quickly in Park City, UT to shop and then drive down the road to Arches National Park and then end the day in Grand Junction, CO. Well, we ended up loving Park City so much that we decided to stay there for the night. We moved a whole 30 miles yesterday!

The Winter Olympics were held in the area and Sundance is there every January, but Park City in the summer doesn't act like the super trendy place I imagined before we got there. It was very quiet and lush and the locals were so incredibly nice (except for the humorless teenage lift operator we met).

We were able to take a lift from Main St. to the top of one of the mountains and took in a view of the entire area. What struck me the most was the utter quiet. Maybe it's just because I'm coming from a particularly noisy place, but I was made deliriously happy by that quiet. After that, we ate a fantastic late lunch/early dinner at a place called Butcher's Chop House and Bar and checked in to the one pet friendly hotel in the area (Holiday Inn Express, fyi).

Today, we slept late and checked out exactly at noon to head to Arches. This was the one part of the trip that I was dreading because of the heat. Whenever I think about driving through the desert, I always have these mental images of an overheated car pulled over on the side of the road. Apparently, we picked the one day that the heat was not going to be an issue in August. Who knew? It was slightly overcast and breezy, which cut down on the extreme heat. Because you can see everything for miles and miles, we were able to watch rain and lightning storms without being caught in them.

Arches National Park is a destination that everyone should see at least once in their lives. We did the super whirlwind tour, but I feel pretty resolute that I will return one day prepared to hike and bike to my heart's content. Good tip to know: dogs are not allowed in to the park, just to the parking lots of the various sites within the park. There are kennels in Moab somewhere, but we were so time constrained, that it wouldn't have made a difference.

In all seriousness, though, Utah was a terrifically impressive state. Go. As soon as you can. You won't regret it.

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